35 Things You Can Do to Help Your Children Succeed in School
For Student of All Ages
- Ask about your children’s homework – what it is, when it’s due – and check to make sure they do it.
- Provide a quiet place – with a good light and away from distractions – for your children to do homework.
- Make sure your children get a good night’s sleep each night and eat a healthy, substantial breakfast each morning.
- Talk to your children about school for at least a few minutes each day to let them know you’re interested and you think school is important.
- Teach your children respect for others and responsibility for their own behavior.
- Make sure your children get regular health and dental check-ups.
- Limit children’s exposure to TV and video games.
- Be positive about school. If parents say “I wasn’t good at school” or “I really didn’t like school,” this can turn children away from learning.
- Check your children’s school web sites regularly to keep informed.
- Attend back-to-school nights and parent/teacher nights to meet your children’s teachers.
- If you are concerned about something, meet with your children’s teachers promptly, before a minor issue becomes a major problem.
- If possible, volunteer – regularly or even just occasionally – at your children’s schools. You will get to know the school better and show your children that you consider education very important.
For Elementary School Students
- Read to your children or look at a book with them for at least 5 -15 minutes each day.
- Have books and magazines appropriate for your children’s reading level available for them.
- Use routine household events to teach about numbers and colors – shopping for food, using a recipe, sorting laundry, etc.
- Give children small rewards for success (either behavior or academic) at school.
- Praise them when they get good grades or do their homework completely and without complaint.
- Take your children to the special programs for youngsters at your local public library.
- Make sure your child has all necessary childhood immunizations.
- Join a parent-teacher organization (PTO or other parent group) and attend meetings.
- Talk to the teachers to find out what your children will be learning each year.
- Ask the teachers for suggestions about how you can help your children at home.
- Make arrangements to visit your children’s classrooms at least once during school hours, just to observe. Talk to the teacher later about anything you didn’t understand or were concerned about.
- Ask about after-school programs or extra-help sessions if you think your children could benefit from these.
For Middle-and High-School Students
- Continue to encourage your children to read. Don’t let TV, video games, or friends absorb all their free time.
- Talk to your children about their specific interests related to school – subjects or teachers they like, clubs or extracurricular activities, books they are reading, projects they are working on, etc.
- Discuss their choice of courses with them so that they are well prepared for different options after high school.
- Begin discussing with them what they might like to do after they graduate from high school.
- Know your children’s friends, where they live, and, if possible, their parents.
- If your children work part-time, make sure this doesn’t interfere with schoolwork or getting a good night’s sleep during the week.
- Continue to celebrate school successes with appropriate rewards. Even though they may seem embarrassed, your children will appreciate your enthusiasm for their good work.
- Get a copy of your children’s schedules each semester.
- Find out what guidance is available to your children in choosing a college, applying, and finding scholarships and loans.
- Volunteer for school activities – chaperone a school dance or field trip, help with sports events, etc.
- Serve on school committees that involve parents.
~Courtesy of the Learning First Alliance ( www.learningfirst.org)Remedies to Banish Math Anxiety
- Be honest with your children about math’s difficulties.
- Let your children know that you value the struggle.
- Model thinking for your children. Let your children see you thinking your way through other, non-math problems that you might face.
- Teach your children to read math. Show them how an explanation in their math textbook can clear up their confusion.
- Teach your children how to review and reinforce previously learned concepts.
- Praise the process. Speed is great, but be sure to praise thinking and doing, not just getting done.
- Give your children space and time.
- Monitor more than the grade. Great anxiety can develop over the measures of performance. Look for the bigger picture of student performance, and help your children see it too.
- Tackle anxiety. Don’t assume anxiety is a necessary evil of learning math. There are many simple steps you can take to counteract anxiety:
- Praise good work, good thinking and good development of ideas.
- Never belittle.
- Don’t label students as slow or quick. Let them feel instead that they all share the need to struggle.
- Educate parents about strategies that help – and hurt.
- Find opportunities to challenge the unchallenged and praise the unpraised.